My Library of Favorite Quotes

Here is a collection of interesting quotes. They come from a variety of sources and points of view. Some are profound; some are silly. Some are frightening; others are chillingly prophetic.


As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Everyone should be introduced to excellence, even if he might never become good friends. -- Edith May, 1930s

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as courses, and they come back to us as effects. -- Herman Melville

Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself. -- Richard M. Nixon

No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency. -- Theodore Roosevelt


In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action. -- Louis D. Brandeis

Government! Three-fourths parasitic and the rest stupid fumbling -- oh, Harshaw conceded that man, a social animal, could not avoid government, any more than an individual could escape bondage to his bowels. But simply because an evil was inescapable was no reason to term it "good." -- Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. -- Lyndon Johnson

The voice of protest, of warning, of appeal is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum, echoed by the press and too often by the pulpit, is bidding all men fall in step and obey in silence the tyrannous word of command. Then, more than ever, it is the duty of the good citizen not to be silent. -- Charles Eliot Norton, True Patriotism, 1898

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. -- Ronald Reagan

I can't believe that we are going to let a majority of the people decide what's best for this state. -- Rep. John Travis of Jackson, La., 1995

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -- John Adams


Loyalty is the marrow of honor. -- Paul von Hindenburg


Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower


Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. -- Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 1928

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. -- Edmund Burke, 1784

No man is free who is not master of himself. -- Epictetus

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. -- Heinrich Heine, 1823

What luck for rulers, that men do not think. -- Adolph Hitler

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. -- Thomas Jefferson

It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume...that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him. -- H. L. Mencken

First, they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me. -- Martin Niemöller, 1945

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. -- Thomas Paine


No matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping. -- Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, December 5, 1941

Give me ambiguity or give me something else. -- Unknown

Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings. -- George F. Will, 1994

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion . . . in private self-defense. -- John Adams

That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms... -- Samuel Adams

If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege. -- Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it...The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes....Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. -- Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, 1764

I am certainly not anti-gun by any means. I even enjoy shooting a gun myself. I believe that they can have value for certain things, such as self-defense... -- Sarah Brady, Crimebeat Magazine, January 1992

We must be able to arrest people before they commit crimes. By registering guns and knowing who has them we can do that. ...If they have guns they are pretty likely to commit a crime. -- Vermont State Senator Mary Ann Carlson

The protection the government owes you and fails to provide, you are morally bound to provide for yourselves ... -- Eugene V. Debs

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest. -- Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography

An armed society is a polite society. -- Robert A Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon, 1942

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? -- Patrick Henry

Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State. -- Heinrich Himmler

A covenant not to defend myself from force, by force, is always void. For ... no man can transfer or lay down his Right to save himself from death. -- Thomas Hobbes

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms.... The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to always be possible. -- Hubert Humphrey, 1960

The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it. -- Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -- Thomas Jefferson

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. . . . No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. -- Thomas Jefferson

A right delayed is a right denied. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"No one has the right to destroy another person's belief by demanding empirical evidence. -- Ann Landers, Director, Handgun Control, Inc.

The principal foundations of all states are good laws and good arms; and there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms. -- Machiavelli

Americans have a right and advantage of being armed -- unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. -- James Madison

Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them. -- Walter Mondale, 1994

Life, Liberty and Happiness are nothing without the means to defend them. -- Unknown

Oskar Schindler gave 41 semiautomatic rifles to Jewish workers near the end of WWII. This was omitted from the movie. -- Unknown

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the people's liberty's teeth. -- George Washington

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